Kari Plog | KNKX

Kari Plog

Digital Content Manager

Kari Plog is an eager newcomer to public radio and a longtime admirer. Her background as a print journalist started at The News Tribune in Tacoma, where she covered government and communities across Pierce County.

Her work included an award-winning investigation into a deadly boat launch in Tacoma. Before joining KNKX in November 2018, Kari worked for her alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, where she served as senior editor of the institution’s magazine, producing long-form storytelling from Parkland to Norway.

Kari also worked for several years as a college newspaper adviser at the University of Puget Sound, and continues to serve as a passionate advocate for aspiring journalists and student media. She’s a lover of orca whales, wine and Prince. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and their lovable 75-pound lapdog, Bernie.

Ways to Connect

The Capitol dome is seen through cherry blossoms on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Olympia.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

Washington’s legislative session is in its final three-week stretch. The House and Senate must negotiate a final budget, and a lot of bills remain in play. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked about the latest updates with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Dr. Rebecca Partidge (left) talks with Michelle Peterson (right) and her son, Jack, during a recent checkup.
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Kids travel from as far as Spokane to see Dr. Rebecca Partridge at her clinic in Issaquah. Caring for people with Down syndrome, and their families, is her mission.

Six years ago, she started the clinic with Virginia Mason Hospital. It’s the only one of its kind in the Northwest, focusing on the unique medical needs of children with Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder.

Sasha Im and her brother, Thomas, as kids.
Courtesy of Sasha Im

Sasha Im says her brother, Thomas, was always tired when they were growing up. He would come home from school, drop his backpack on the floor, and sleep for long stretches of time.

During his waking hours, Thomas experienced much more intense emotions.

Incomplete data tracking hides a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened Northwest jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe.
JONATHAN LEVINSON / OPB

Over the past decade, more than 300 inmates have died in Washington and Oregon jails, according to a first-of-its-kind accounting by Northwest public media outlets. More than half of the inmates who died were awaiting trial. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins reports on the prevalence of deaths among unconvicted inmates, and sits down to talk about his reporting with All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.

Southern resident orca whales, seen frolicking in 2008 less than 200 yards from shore near the light house at Lime Kiln Point State Park.   The one breaching is Canuck L-7, in the foreground is Faith L-57. Neither is still living.
Jeanne Hyde

Orca whales have the second-largest brains of all marine mammals. They’re known to be intelligent. And they have a lot to say.

Jeanne Hyde is almost always listening.

Nina Summerrise and her husband, Robin, hold a picture of Summerrise's son, Ian Sherls, whose body was found in a well in the ground at Tacoma's Swan Creek Park. They want responses to unanswered questions from Pierce County Medical Examiner Thomas Clark.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story was reported by digital content manager Kari Plog and South Sound reporter Will James, and written by Plog.

Nina Summerrise tried to stay positive when a friend alerted her of the news reports: a body wedged deep in an abandoned well discovered in Tacoma’s Swan Creek Park.

Despite Seattle’s reputation as a progressive place, it has a complicated history to reckon with. One chapter of the city’s story is branded with a racist caricature — which pervaded the region beyond the restaurant the image represented: the Coon Chicken Inn.

Wooden signs hang from a gate at the site of the Oso landslide, which devastated the community of Oso, Washington, on March 22, 2014.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Oso, Washington — People in the tight-knit community of Oso, Washington, knew when they drove past Steelhead Drive. There weren’t any street signs pointing to their neighbors’ idyllic corner of the Pacific Northwest. But there was the familiar row of mailboxes.

Environmental activists gather around structures erected on a grassy area in front of the Legislative building at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, the first day of the 2018 legislative session.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

One of the big, trending topics in Olympia this year is the environment. After years of divided control, Democrats now hold the majority in both chambers of the Legislature. And environmental activists see an opportunity to pass a number of new laws. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins shares what’s on the agenda in his weekly chat with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

An inflatable orca is displayed during a rally to call attention to environmental issues on Monday, Jan. 14. The environment is one of many high-priority issues in the 2019 legislative session, which is just about halfway over.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

There is a lot of activity in the Legislature right now, as state lawmakers work against a Wednesday deadline to move bills out of their chamber of origin. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what’s going on and what’s to come.

breaking news graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

A year and a half ago, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office issued a death determination that eventually resulted in a dropped murder charge. Now, the county prosecutor is re-evaluating the case.

A younger Mary Anne Moorman.
Courtesy of Moorman

Mary Anne Moorman has been a management consultant, an activist, a storyteller – even a radio host. She’s also been keeping a secret since she was a little girl.

“Where are you?” a younger Moorman asked. “Everywhere,” the voice replied.

Washington House representatives listen to testimony, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, before they unanimously voted to approve a code of conduct for the Legislature in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

State lawmakers are approaching the halfway point of their 105-day session, and they’re closing in on the deadline to pass non-budget-related bills out of their house of origin. Democrats control both chambers this year, and they’re flexing their majority muscles. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins updated Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave on the latest progress.

Medical examiner van
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The state body that oversees doctors has opened an investigation into the Pierce County medical examiner, escalating turmoil in an office that’s been under scrutiny since a whistleblower complaint surfaced in January.

In this Sept. 7, 2012, file photo, gillnetters repair a net near the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. Washington state is collecting feedback from the public as it considers fishing restrictions amid dwindling salmon populations.
Don Ryan / The Associated Press (file)

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has launched two months of public meetings as regulators decide how much salmon can be harvested from state waters. The process includes the first official statewide forecasts detailing how many salmon are expected to return in 2019.

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

More than a decade has passed since Latosha Evans went to Seattle Children’s Hospital for a heart transplant. And it’s been just over five years since a stroke during a follow-up procedure left her with life-altering disabilities.

Now, a King County jury says Children’s University Medical Group must pay nearly $14 million in damages to cover a lifetime of care that lies ahead for the 22-year-old from West Seattle.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Seattle at an event held by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Inslee is expected to announce his bid for president as soon as this week.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee is sounding more and more like a presidential candidate. An official announcement is expected in the coming days, but Inslee has already been making his case to the national media. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the prospect of Inslee running for president.

McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Over the past several weeks, the podcast series Forgotten Prison has taught listeners a lot about the Alcatraz of Washington state. Despite the rich history of the now-abandoned prison on McNeil Island, the state left a lot behind when it closed the institution in 2011. In the last episode, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore what we lose when we forget about prisons. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the conclusion of the series.

A man stands on a pier with Alcatraz Island at rear in San Francisco, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Despite being a model for Alcatraz, McNeil Island's prison hasn't garnered as much publicity in pop culture.
Jeff Chiu / The Associated Press

Browse the selection of prison movies on streaming services, and the contrast is clear.

Many people, near and far, know about the Rock. But few — even residents across the water — know about McNeil.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A Pierce County employee who was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday has filed a retaliation complaint against county officials, according to a letter obtained by KNKX Public Radio.

Alan and Andy Dappen traveled the Inside Passage twice: in 1974 and again in 2017, when they were nearing retirement. Both times, they traveled in their handmade canoes.
Courtesy of Nathan Dappen

Growing up, filmmaker Nathan Dappen heard the story of his dad’s canoe trip to Alaska so many times that it came to seem almost like a legend.

The story, as Nathan remembers it, goes like this.

abandoned prison
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

McNeil Island’s history mirrors American history that unfolded outside the prison walls. And one of its darker chapters collides with the Korean War and what was then a mysterious new disease. 

Soldiers returned to the states infected with hepatitis, baffling the doctors tasked with treating them. So, to learn more, inmates were approached to volunteer for medical testing.

prison walls
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

McNeil Island prison ran for more than a century in South Puget Sound. A lot of earth-shaking events happened in the outside world during that time, and those events had ripple effects that were felt in the prison itself.

In the fifth episode of our podcast Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel look at the role McNeil played in world events. Wissel talks about the latest episode of the series with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

A former dock facility is shown in Queens, N.Y., late last year. Amazon announced Thursday that it no longer plans to build a new headquarters in Long Island City.
Bebeto Matthews / The Associated Press

Amazon abruptly changed course on Thursday, axing its planned headquarters project in New York in the face of ongoing backlash. The change comes after politicians and others objected to nearly $3 billion in tax incentives promised by the Seattle-based technology company. The expansion was expected to bring 25,000 jobs to the city. 

Courtesy of SIFF

Eddie Muller — The Czar of Noir, as described by the Seattle International Film Festival — is taking a break from hosting Turner Classic Movies’ "Noir Alley" to introduce a lineup of films for SIFF’s Noir City festival beginning this weekend. Muller sat down for an interview with KNKX production manager (and resident movie buff) Nick Morrison.

In this photo taken Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, right, stands adjacent to a dirt-covered rail tunnel, left, containing radioactive waste, amidst desert plants on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash.
Nicholas K. Geranios / The Associated Press

The federal government is suing Lockheed Martin Corp. for fraud in the latest controversy surrounding the heavily polluted Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The U.S. Justice Department is accusing the defense contractor of using false records and making false statements to bill the Energy Department for tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized profits and fees.

The people who worked at the now-abandoned prison on McNeil raised families in houses around the island.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When it closed in 2011, McNeil Island’s prison was the last of its kind in the country — an institution accessible only by air or water. Being on an island made McNeil unique. In the fourth episode of our six-part podcast series Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore island life. Alicea talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned.

McNeil Island resident Henry G. Minkema is pictured with a pet deer in this undated photo.
Courtesy of Washington State Archives

Put simply, Charles Scanlon is an animal guy.

Like many families, the Scanlons had a dog — a German shepherd — that roamed freely during their years living on McNeil Island, where Charles worked as a federal prison guard.

But, as his son Terry can attest, growing up on McNeil in the 1970s meant life was different — and so were the pets.

Seattle streets are still covered in snow, but KNKX weather expert says we might be near the end of this winter storm.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

We can almost see the light at the end of this snowy tunnel, according to the latest blog post from KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.

After the Puget Sound region experiences a few more inches of snow throughout Monday, it will see a transition around dinnertime to rain at elevations below 500 feet, roughly. (Last update: 2:50 p.m. Thursday)

Abandoned yard at the site of McNeil Island's former prison, which closed in 2011.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

There are thousands of stories about McNeil Island. And chances are, you haven’t heard any of them. This week on Sound Effect, host Gabriel Spitzer talks through some of them with KNKX reporters Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel, who host KNKX Public Radio’s podcast Forgotten Prison.

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